Classic Fairy Tale Gets Operatic Treatment As Glyndebourne Returns

A classic fairy tale directed by the star of a hit BBC thriller is heading to Norfolk as the world-famous opera company Glyndebourne returns to the county.

Massenet’s glittering comic opera Cinderella (above) is part of the 2018 touring programme at the theatre and is directed by Fiona Shaw, who is currently playing MI6 agent Carolyn Martens in Killing Eve. She is also no stranger to Glyndebourne after directing The Rape Of Lucretia for the company in 2013.

Also coming to Norwich Theatre Royal is a revival of Verdi’s much-loved La Traviata, and an introduction to the piece entitled Behind The Curtain which sees popular comedian and performer Chris Addison host a glimpse behind the scenes of the heart-breaking story for new and seasoned opera fans alike.

Cinderella takes to the stage on November 14 and 17 and is an enchanting retelling of the classic story. It mixes the beauty of its romantic and fantasy scenes with witty portrayals of Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters.

Fiona Shaw said she read a number of fairy tales to prepare for directing the opera. “I wanted to see how they work and what they have given us. I think we need fairy tales just as much today as we always have,” she said. “I have seen Cinderella as a person who dreams, so there is a slight distortion of reality. This is what opera does. It reinforces that we are much bigger than our ordinary daily lives.”

Glyndebourne aims to champion new talent and that tradition continues with French mezzo-sopranos Alix Le Saux and Eléonore Pancrazi playing the title role and Le Prince Charmant respectively. Alix will be making her Glyndebourne debut while Eléonore returns after competing as a finalist in the first ever Glyndebourne Opera Cup. The production is being conducted by Duncan Ward, who is heralded as one of the most exciting and versatile conductors  in the UK and has worked with a number of orchestras including the Orchestre de Paris, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the acclaimed Glyndebourne production of Hamlet last year.

Photo credit: CLIVE BARDA;


Meanwhile November 13 and 16 will see La Traviata (above) take to the stage. This much-loved revival of a Verdi classic tells the story of innocent Alfredo who meets the worldly-wise Parisian courtesan Violetta and they fall deeply in love. Will Violetta’s dark past stand in the way of their love, and will her family consent to their relationship?

Already proving popular with Norwich audiences who are snapping up tickets, this exploration of love, desire and emotion mixes a stunning design with some heart-breaking drama in this classic performance.

The cast include young Armenian soprano Mané Galoyan as Violetta, and American baritone Noel Bouley who plays Giorgio Germont.

Completing the programme is La Traviata: Behind The Curtain on November 15 which will see comedian and opera fan Chris Addison give an insight into the opera and explore its context.

Well-known from appearances in a range of TV shows including The Thick Of It, Skins and Doctor Who, Chris is relishing his new challenge. He said: “I am frankly a little bit over-excited to be working with Glyndebourne again and to get to have a tinker under the hood of Big Joe Verdi’s tragic masterpiece La Traviata.

“We’re going to see how it’s put together, how it works, why it works, which bits go where and why, and hopefully unlock this big-tuned, bouncy and most beloved of operas for newbies and super-fans alike. Drinking songs, star-crossed lovers and lingering death by consumption sounds like an evening around mine just with the addition of music that will set up camp in your head and refuse to leave.”